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´╗┐Title: An essay on the American contribution and the democratic idea
Author: Churchill, Winston, 1871-1947
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An essay on the American contribution and the democratic idea" ***


By Winston Churchill

Failure to recognize that the American, is at heart an idealist is to
lack understanding of our national character.  Two of our greatest
interpreters proclaimed it, Emerson and William James.  In a recent
address at the Paris Sorbonne on "American Idealism," M. Firmin Roz
observed that a people is rarely justly estimated by its contemporaries.
The French, he says, have been celebrated chiefly for the skill of their
chefs and their vaudeville actors, while in the disturbed 'speculum
mundi' Americans have appeared as a collection of money grabbers whose
philosophy is the dollar.  It remained for the war to reveal the true
nature of both peoples.  The American colonists, M. Roz continues, unlike
other colonists, were animated not by material motives, but by the desire
to safeguard and realize an ideal; our inherent characteristic today is a
belief in the virtue and power of ideas, of a national, indeed, of a
universal, mission.  In the Eighteenth Century we proposed a Philosophy
and adopted a Constitution far in advance of the political practice of
the day, and set up a government of which Europe predicted the early
downfall.  Nevertheless, thanks partly to good fortune, and to the
farseeing wisdom of our early statesmen who perceived that the success
of our experiment depended upon the maintenance of an isolation from
European affairs, we established democracy as a practical form of

We have not always lived up to our beliefs in ideas.  In our dealings
with other nations, we yielded often to imperialistic ambitions and thus,
to a certain extent, justified the cynicism of Europe.  We took what we
wanted--and more.  From Spain we seized western Florida; the annexation
of Texas and the subsequent war with Mexico are acts upon which we cannot
look back with unmixed democratic pride; while more than once we
professed a naive willingness to fight England in order to push our
boundaries further north.  We regarded the Monroe Doctrine as altruistic,
while others smiled.  But it suited England, and her sea power gave it

Our war with Spain in 1898, however, was fought for an idea, and,
despite the imperialistic impulse that followed it, marks a transition,
an advance, in international ethics.  Imperialistic cynics were not
lacking to scoff at our protestation that we were fighting Spain in order
to liberate Cuba; and yet this, for the American people at large, was
undoubtedly the inspiration of the war.  We kept our promise, we did not
annex Cuba, we introduced into international affairs what is known as the
Big Brother idea.  Then came the Platt Amendment.  Cuba was free, but she
must not wallow near our shores in an unhygienic state, or borrow money
without our consent.  We acquired valuable naval bases.  Moreover, the
sudden and unexpected acquisition of Porto Rico and the Philippines made
us imperialists in spite of ourselves.

Nations as well as individuals, however, must be judged by their
intentions.  The sound public opinion of our people has undoubtedly
remained in favour of ultimate self-government for the Philippines, and
the greatest measure of self-determination for little Porto Rico; it has
been unquestionably opposed to commercial exploitation of the islands,
desirous of yielding to these peoples the fruits of their labour in
developing the resources of their own lands.  An intention, by the way,
diametrically different from that of Germany.  In regard to our
protectorate in the island of San Domingo, our "semi-protectorate" in
Nicaragua, the same argument of intention may fairly be urged.  Germany,
who desired them, would have exploited them.  To a certain extent, no
doubt, as a result of the momentum of commercial imperialism, we are
still exploiting them.  But the attitude of the majority of Americans
toward more backward peoples is not cynical; hence there is hope that a
democratic solution of the Caribbean and Central American problem may be
found.  And we are not ready, as yet, to accept without further
experiment the dogma that tropical and sub-tropical people will not
ultimately be able to govern themselves.  If this eventually, prove to be
the case at least some such experiment as the new British Labour Party
has proposed for the Empire may be tried.  Our general theory that the
exploitation of foreign peoples reacts unfavourably on the exploiters is
undoubtedly sound.

Nor are the ethics of the manner of our acquisition of a part of Panama
and the Canal wholly defensible from the point of view of international
democracy.  Yet it must be remembered that President Roosevelt was
dealing with a corrupt, irresponsible, and hostile government, and that
the Canal had become a necessity not only for our own development, but
for that of the civilization of the world.

The Spanish War, as has been said, marked a transition, a development of
the American Idea.  In obedience to a growing perception that dominion
and exploitation are incompatible with and detrimental to our system of
government, we fought in good faith to gain self-determination for an
alien people.  The only real peril confronting democracy is the arrest
of growth.  Its true conquests are in the realms of ideas, and hence it
calls for a statesmanship which, while not breaking with the past, while
taking into account the inherent nature of a people, is able to deal
creatively with new situations--always under the guidance of current
social science.

Woodrow Wilson's Mexican policy, being a projection of the American Idea
to foreign affairs, a step toward international democracy, marks the
beginning of a new era.  Though not wholly understood, though opposed by
a powerful minority of our citizens, it stirred the consciousness of a
national mission to which our people are invariably ready to respond.
Since it was essentially experimental, and therefore not lacking in
mistakes, there was ample opportunity for a criticism that seemed at
times extremely plausible.  The old and tried method of dealing with such
anarchy as existed across our southern border was made to seem the safe
one; while the new, because it was untried, was presented as disastrous.
In reality, the reverse was the case.

Mr. Wilson's opponents were, generally speaking, the commercial classes
in the community, whose environment and training led them to demand a
foreign policy similar to that of other great powers, a financial
imperialism which is the logical counterpart in foreign affairs of the
commercial exploitation of domestic national resources and domestic
labour.  These were the classes which combated the growth of democracy at
home, in national and state politics.  From their point of view--not that
of the larger vision--they were consistent.  On the other hand, the
nation grasped the fact that to have one brand of democracy at home and
another for dealing with foreign nations was not only illogical but, in
the long run, would be suicidal to the Republic.  And the people at large
were committed to democratic progress at home.  They were struggling for

One of the most important issues of the American liberal movement early
in this century had been that for the conservation of what remains of our
natural resources of coal and metals and oil and timber and waterpower
for the benefit of all the people, on the theory that these are the
property of the people.  But if the natural resources of this country
belong to the people of the United States, those of Mexico belong to the
people of Mexico.  It makes no difference how "lazy," ignorant, and
indifferent to their own interests the Mexicans at present may be.  And
even more important in these liberal campaigns was the issue of the
conservation of human resources--men and women and children who are
forced by necessity to labour.  These must be protected in health, given
economic freedom and a just reward for their toil.  The American
democracy, committed to the principle of the conservation of domestic
natural and human resources, could not without detriment to itself
persist in a foreign policy that ignored them.  For many years our own
government had permitted the squandering of these resources by
adventurous capitalists; and gradually, as we became a rich industrial
nation, these capitalists sought profitable investments for their
increasing surplus in foreign lands.  Their manner of acquiring
"concessions" in Mexico was quite similar to that by which they had
seized because of the indifference and ignorance of our own people--our
own mines and timber lands which our government held in trust.  Sometimes
these American "concessions" have been valid in law though the law itself
violated a democratic principle; more often corrupt officials winked at
violations of the law, enabling capitalists to absorb bogus claims.

The various rulers of Mexico sold to American and other foreign
capitalists the resources belonging to the people of their country, and
pocketed, with their followers, the proceeds of the sale.  Their control
of the country rested upon force; the stability of the Diaz rule, for
instance, depended upon the "President's" ability to maintain his
dictatorship--a precarious guarantee to the titles he had given.  Hence
the premium on revolutions.  There was always the incentive to the
upstart political and military buccaneer to overthrow the dictator and
gain possession of the spoils, to sell new doubtful concessions and levy
new tribute on the capitalists holding claims from a former tyrant.

The foreign capitalists appealed to their governments; commercial
imperialism responded by dispatching military forces to protect the lives
and "property" of its citizens, in some instances going so far as to take
possession of the country.  A classic case, as cited by Hobson, is
Britain's South African War, in which the blood and treasure of the
people of the United Kingdom were expended because British capitalists
had found the Boers recalcitrant, bent on retaining their own country for
themselves.  To be sure, South Africa, like Mexico is rich in resources
for which advancing civilization continually makes demands.  And, in the
case of Mexico, the products of the tropics, such as rubber, are
increasingly necessary to the industrial powers of the temperate zone.
On the other hand, if the exploiting nation aspire to self-government,
the imperialistic method of obtaining these products by the selfish
exploitation of the natural and human resources of the backward countries
reacts so powerfully on the growth of democracy at home--and hence on the
growth of democracy throughout the world--as to threaten the very future
of civilization.  The British Liberals, when they came into power,
perceived this, and at once did their best to make amends to South Africa
by granting her autonomy and virtual independence, linking her to Britain
by the silken thread of Anglo-Saxon democratic culture.  How strong this
thread has proved is shown by the action of those of Dutch blood in the
Dominion during the present war.

Eventually, if democracy is not to perish from the face of the earth,
some other than the crude imperialistic method of dealing with backward
peoples, of obtaining for civilization the needed resources of their
lands, must be inaugurated--a democratic method.  And this is perhaps the
supreme problem of democracy today.  It demands for its solution a
complete reversal of the established policy of imperialism, a new theory
of international relationships, a mutual helpfulness and partnership
between nations, even as democracy implies cooperation between individual
citizens.  Therefore President Wilson laid down the doctrine that
American citizens enter Mexico at their own risk; that they must not
expert that American blood will be shed or the nation's money be expended
to protect their lives or the "property" they have acquired from Mexican
dictators.  This applies also to the small capitalists, the owners of the
coffee plantations, as well as to those Americans in Mexico who are not
capitalists but wage earners.  The people of Mexico are entitled to try
the experiment of self-determination.  It is an experiment, we frankly
acknowledge that fact, a democratic experiment dependent on physical
science, social science, and scientific education.  The other horn of the
dilemma, our persistence in imperialism, is even worse--since by such
persistence we destroy ourselves.

A subjective judgment, in accordance with our own democratic standards,
by the American Government as to the methods employed by a Huerta, for
instance, is indeed demanded; not on the ground, however, that such
methods are "good" or "bad"; but whether they are detrimental to Mexican
self-determination, and hence to the progress of our own democracy.


If America had started to prepare when Belgium was invaded, had entered
the war when the Lusitania was sunk, Germany might by now have been
defeated, hundreds of thousands of lives might have been spared.  All
this may be admitted.  Yet, looking backward, it is easy to read the
reason for our hesitancy in our national character and traditions.  We
were pacifists, yes, but pacifists of a peculiar kind.  One of our
greatest American prophets, William James, knew that there was an issue
for which we were ready to fight, for which we were willing to make the
extreme sacrifice,--and that issue he defined as "war against war."  It
remained for America to make the issue.

Peoples do not rush to arms unless their national existence is
threatened.  It is what may be called the environmental cause that drives
nations quickly into war.  It drove the Entente nations into war, though
incidentally they were struggling for certain democratic institutions,
for international justice.  But in the case of America, the environmental
cause was absent.  Whether or not our national existence was or is
actually threatened, the average American does not believe that it is.
He was called upon to abandon his tradition, to mingle in a European
conflict, to fight for an idea alone.  Ideas require time to develop,
to seize the imagination of masses.  And it must be remembered that in
1914 the great issue had not been defined.  Curiously enough, now that it
is defined, it proves to be an American issue--a logical and positive
projection of our Washingtonian tradition and Monroe doctrine.  These had
for their object the preservation and development of democracy, the
banishment from the Western Hemisphere of European imperialistic conflict
and war.  We are now, with the help of our allies, striving to banish
these things from the face of the earth.  It is undoubtedly the greatest
idea for which man has been summoned to make the supreme sacrifice.

Its evolution has been traced.  Democracy was the issue in the Spanish
War, when we fought a weak nation.  We have followed its broader
application to Mexico, when we were willing to ignore the taunts and
insults of another weak nation, even the loss of "prestige," for the sake
of the larger good.  And we have now the clue to the President's
interpretation of the nation's mind during the first three years of the
present war.  We were willing to bear the taunts and insults of Germany
so long as it appeared that a future world peace night best be brought
about by the preservation of neutrality, by turning the weight of the
impartial public opinion of our democracy and that of other neutrals
against militarism and imperialism.  Our national aim was ever consistent
with the ideal of William James, to advance democracy and put an end to
the evil of war.

The only sufficient reason for the abandonment of the Washingtonian
policy is the furtherance of the object for which it was inaugurated, the
advance of democracy.  And we had established the precedent, with Spain
and Mexico, that the Republic shall engage in no war of imperialistic
conquest.  We war only in behalf of, or in defence of, democracy.

Before the entrance of America, however, the issues of the European
War were by no means clear cut along democratic lines.  What kind of
democracy were the allies fighting for?  Nowhere and at no time had it
been defined by any of their statesmen.  On the contrary, the various
allied governments had entered into compacts for the transference of
territory in the event of victory; and had even, by the offer of rewards,
sought to play one small nation against another.  This secret diplomacy
of bargains, of course, was a European heritage, the result of an
imperialistic environment which the American did not understand, and
from which he was happily free.  Its effect on France is peculiarly
enlightening.  The hostility of European governments, due to their fear
of her republican institutions, retarded her democratic growth, and her
history during the reign of Napoleon III is one of intrigue for
aggrandizement differing from Bismarck's only in the fact that it was
unsuccessful.  Britain, because she was separated from the continent and
protected by her fleet, virtually withdrew from European affairs in the
latter part of the nineteenth century, and, as a result, made great
strides in democracy.  The aggressions of Germany forced Britain in
self-defence into coalitions.  Because of her power and wealth she became
the Entente leader, yet her liberal government was compelled to enter into
secret agreements with certain allied governments in order to satisfy
what they deemed to be their needs and just ambitions.  She had honestly
sought, before the war, to come to terms with Germany, and had even
proposed gradual disarmament.  But, despite the best intentions,
circumstances and environment, as well as the precarious situation of her
empire, prevented her from liberalizing her foreign relations to conform
with the growth of democracy within the United Kingdom and the Dominions.
Americans felt a profound pity for Belgium.  But she was not, as Cuba had
been, our affair.  The great majority of our citizens sympathized with
the Entente, regarded with amazement and disgust the sudden disclosure of
the true character of the German militaristic government.  Yet for the
average American the war wore the complexion of other European conflicts,
was one involving a Balance of Power, mysterious and inexplicable.  To
him the underlying issue was not democratic, but imperialistic; and this
was partly because he was unable to make a mental connection between a
European war and the brand of democracy he recognized.  Preaching and
propaganda fail unless it can be brought home to a people that something
dear to their innermost nature is at stake, that the fate of the thing
they most desire, and are willing to make sacrifices for, hangs in the

During a decade the old political parties, between which there was now
little more than an artificial alignment, had been breaking up.
Americans were absorbed in the great liberal movement begun under the
leadership of President Roosevelt, the result of which was to transform
democracy from a static to a pragmatic and evolutionary conception,--in
order to meet and correct new and unforeseen evils.  Political freedom
was seen to be of little worth unless also accompanied by the economic
freedom the nation had enjoyed before the advent of industrialism.
Clerks and farmers, professional men and shopkeepers and artisans were
ready to follow the liberal leaders in states and nation; intellectual
elements from colleges and universities were enlisted.  Paralleling the
movement, at times mingling with it, was the revolt of labour, manifested
not only in political action, but in strikes and violence.  Readily
accessible books and magazines together with club and forum lectures in
cities, towns, and villages were rapidly educating the population in
social science, and the result was a growing independent vote to make
politicians despair.

Here was an instance of a democratic culture growing in isolation,
resentful of all external interference.  To millions of Americans
--especially in our middle western and western states--bent upon social
reforms, the European War appeared as an arresting influence.  American
participation meant the triumph of the forces of reaction.  Colour was
lent to this belief because the conservative element which had opposed
social reforms was loudest in its demand for intervention.  The wealthy
and travelled classes organized preparedness parades and distributed
propaganda.  In short, those who had apparently done their utmost to
oppose democracy at home were most insistent that we should embark
upon a war for democracy across the seas.  Again, what kind of democracy?
Obviously a status quo, commercially imperialistic democracy, which the
awakening liberal was bent upon abolishing.

There is undoubtedly in such an office as the American presidency some
virtue which, in times of crisis, inspires in capable men an intellectual
and moral growth proportional to developing events.  Lincoln, our most
striking example, grew more between 1861 and 1865 than during all the
earlier years of his life.  Nor is the growth of democratic leaders, when
seen through the distorted passions of their day, apparently a consistent
thing.  Greatness, near at hand, is startlingly like inconsistency; it
seems at moments to vacillate, to turn back upon and deny itself, and
thus lays itself open to seemingly plausible criticism by politicians and
time servers and all who cry out for precedent.  Yet it is an interesting
and encouraging fact that the faith of democratic peoples goes out, and
goes out alone, to leaders who--whatever their minor faults and failings
--do not fear to reverse themselves when occasion demands; to enunciate
new doctrines, seemingly in contradiction to former assertions, to meet
new crises.  When a democratic leader who has given evidence of greatness
ceases to develop new ideas, he loses the public confidence.  He flops
back into the ranks of the conservative he formerly opposed, who catch up
with him only when he ceases to grow.

In 1916 the majority of the American people elected Mr. Wilson in the
belief that he would keep them out of war.  In 1917 he entered the war
with the nation behind him.  A recalcitrant Middle West was the first
to fill its quota of volunteers, and we witnessed the extraordinary
spectacle of the endorsement of conscription: What had happened?  A very
simple, but a very great thing Mr. Wilson had made the issue of the war a
democratic issue, an American issue, in harmony with our national hopes
and traditions.  But why could not this issue have been announced in 1914
or 1915?  The answer seems to be that peoples, as well as their leaders
and interpreters, must grow to meet critical situations.  In 1861 the,
moral idea of the Civil War was obscured and hidden by economic and
material interests.  The Abraham Lincoln who entered the White House in
1881 was indeed the name man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation in
1863; and yet, in a sense, he was not the same man; events and
responsibilities had effected a profound but logical growth in his
personality.  And the people of the Union were not ready to endorse
Emancipation in 1861.  In 1863, in the darkest hour of the war, the
spirit of the North responded to the call, and, despite the vilification
of the President, was true to him to victory.  More significant still,
in view of the events of today, is what then occurred in England.  The
British Government was unfriendly; the British people as a whole had
looked upon our Civil War very much in the same light as the American
people regarded the present war at its inception--which is to say that
the economic and materialistic issue seemed to overshadow the moral one.
When Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it to be a war for human freedom, the
sentiment of the British people changed--of the British people as
distinct from the governing classes; and the textile workers of the
northern counties, whose mills could not get cotton on account of the
blockade, declared their willingness to suffer and starve if the slaves
in America might be freed.

Abraham Lincoln at that time represented the American people as the
British Government did not represent the British people.  We are
concerned today with peoples rather than governments.

It remained for an American President to announce the moral issue of the
present war, and thus to solidify behind him, not only the liberal mind
of America, but the liberal elements within the nations of Europe.  He
became the democratic leader of the world.  The issue, simply stated, is
the advancement of democracy and peace.  They are inseparable.
Democracy, for progress, demands peace.  It had reached a stage, when, in
a contracting world, it could no longer advance through isolation: its
very existence in every country was threatened, not only by the partisans
of reaction from within, but by the menace from without of a militaristic
and imperialistic nation determined to crush it, restore superimposed
authority, and dominate the globe.  Democracy, divided against itself,
cannot stand.  A league of democratic nations, of democratic peoples, has
become imperative.  Hereafter, if democracy wins, self-determination, and
not imperialistic exploitation, is to be the universal rule.  It is the
extension, on a world scale, of Mr. Wilson's Mexican policy, the
application of democratic principles to international relationships, and
marks the inauguration of a new era.  We resort to force against force,
not for dominion, but to make the world safe for the idea on which we
believe the future of civilization depends, the sacred right of
self-government.  We stand prepared to treat with the German people when
they are ready to cast off autocracy and militarism.  Our attitude toward
them is precisely our attitude toward the Mexican People.  We believe,
and with good reason, that the German system of education is
authoritative and false, and was more or less deliberately conceived in
order to warp the nature and produce complexes in the mind of the German
people for the end of preserving and perpetuating the power of the
Junkers.  We have no quarrel with the duped and oppressed, but we war
against the agents of oppression.  To the conservative mind such an
aspiration appears chimerical.  But America, youngest of the nations, was
born when modern science was gathering the momentum which since has
enabled it to overcome, with a bewildering rapidity, many evils
previously held by superstition to be ineradicable.  As a corollary to
our democratic creed, we accepted the dictum that to human intelligence
all things are possible.  The virtue of this dictum lies not in dogma,
but in an indomitable attitude of mind to which the world owes its every
advance in civilization; quixotic, perhaps, but necessary to great
accomplishment. In searching for a present-day protagonist, no happier
example could be found than Mr. Henry Ford, who exhibits the
characteristic American mixture of the practical and the ideal.  He
introduces into industry humanitarian practices that even tend to
increase the vast fortune which by his own efforts he has accumulated.
He sees that democratic peoples do not desire to go to war, he does not
believe that war is necessary and inevitable, he lays himself open to
ridicule by financing a Peace Mission.  Circumstances force him to
abandon his project, but he is not for one moment discouraged.  His
intention remains.  He throws all his energy and wealth into a war to end
war, and the value of his contribution is inestimable.

A study of Mr. Ford's mental processes and acts illustrates the true mind
of America.  In the autumn of 1916 Mr. Wilson declared that "the people
of the United States want to be sure what they are fighting about, and
they want to be sure that they are fighting for the things that will
bring the world justice and peace.  Define the elements; let us know that
we are not fighting for the prevalence of this nation over that, for the
ambitions of this group of nations as compared with the ambitions of that
group of nations, let us once be convinced that we are called in to a
great combination for the rights of mankind, and America will unite her
force and spill her blood for the great things she has always believed in
and followed."

"America is always ready to fight for the things which are American."
Even in these sombre days that mark the anniversary of our entrance into
the war.  But let it be remembered that it was in the darkest days of the
Civil War Abraham Lincoln boldly proclaimed the democratic, idealistic
issue of that struggle.  The Russian Revolution, which we must seek to
understand and not condemn, the Allied defeats that are its consequences,
can only make our purpose the firmer to put forth all our strength for
the building up of a better world.  The President's masterly series of
state papers, distributed in all parts of the globe, have indeed been so
many Proclamations of Emancipation for the world's oppressed.  Not only
powerful nations shall cease to exploit little nations, but powerful
individuals shall cease to exploit their fellow men.  Henceforth no wars
for dominion shall be waged, and to this end secret treaties shall be
abolished.  Peoples through their representatives shall make their own
treaties.  And just as democracy insures to the individual the greatest
amount of self-determination, nations also shall have self-determination,
in order that each shall be free to make its world contribution.  All
citizens have duties to perform toward their fellow citizens; all
democratic nations must be interdependent.

With this purpose America has entered the war.  But it implies that our
own household must be swept and cleaned.  The injustices and inequalities
existing in our own country, the false standards of worth, the
materialism, the luxury and waste must be purged from our midst.


In fighting Germany we are indeed fighting an evil Will--evil because it
seeks to crush the growth of individual and national freedom.  Its object
is to put the world back under the thrall of self-constituted authority.
So long as this Will can compel the bodies of soldiers to do its bidding,
these bodies must be destroyed.  Until the Will behind them is broken,
the world cannot be free.  Junkerism is the final expression of reaction,
organized to the highest efficiency.  The war against the Junkers marks
the consummation of a long struggle for human liberty in all lands,
symbolizes the real cleavage dividing the world.  As in the French
Revolution and the wars that followed it, the true significance of this
war is social.  But today the Russian Revolution sounds the keynote.
Revolutions tend to express the extremes of the philosophies of their
times--human desires, discontents, and passions that cannot be organized.
The French Revolution was a struggle for political freedom; the
underlying issue of the present war is economic freedom--without which
political freedom is of no account.  It will not, therefore, suffice
merely to crush the Junkers, and with them militarism and autocracy.
Unless, as the fruit of this appalling bloodshed and suffering, the
democracies achieve economic freedom, the war will have been fought in
vain.  More revolutions, wastage and bloodshed will follow, the world
will be reduced to absolute chaos unless, in the more advanced
democracies, an intelligent social order tending to remove the causes
of injustice and discontent can be devised and ready for inauguration.
This new social order depends, in turn, upon a world order of mutually
helpful, free peoples, a league of Nations.--If the world is to be made
safe for democracy, this democratic plan must be ready for the day when
the German Junker is beaten and peace is declared.

The real issue of our time is industrial democracy we must face that
fact.  And those in America and the Entente nations who continue to
oppose it will do so at their peril.  Fortunately, as will be shown, that
element of our population which may be designated as domestic Junkers is
capable of being influenced by contemporary currents of thought, is
awakening to the realization of social conditions deplorable and
dangerous.  Prosperity and power had made them blind and arrogant.  Their
enthusiasm for the war was, however, genuine; the sacrifices they are
making are changing and softening them; but as yet they can scarcely be
expected, as a class, to rejoice over the revelation--just beginning to
dawn upon their minds--that victory for the Allies spells the end of
privilege.  Their conception of democracy remains archaic, while wealth
is inherently conservative.  Those who possess it in America have as a
rule received an education in terms of an obsolete economics, of the
thought of an age gone by.  It is only within the past few years that our
colleges and universities have begun to teach modern economics, social
science and psychology--and this in the face of opposition from trustees.
Successful business men, as a rule, have had neither the time nor the
inclination to read books which they regard as visionary, as subversive
to an order by which they have profited.  And that some Americans are
fools, and have been dazzled in Europe by the glamour of a privilege not
attainable at home, is a deplorable yet indubitable fact.  These have
little sympathy with democracy; they have even been heard to declare that
we have no right to dictate to another nation, even an enemy nation, what
form of government it shall assume.  We have no right to demand, when
peace comes, that the negotiations must be with the representatives of
the German people.  These are they who deplore the absence among us of a
tradition of monarchy, since the American people "should have something
to look up to."  But this state of mind, which needs no comment, is
comparatively rare, and represents an extreme.  We are not lacking,
however, in the type of conservative who, innocent of a knowledge of
psychology, insists that "human nature cannot be changed," and that the
"survival of the fittest" is the law of life, yet these would deny Darwin
if he were a contemporary.  They reject the idea that society can be
organized by intelligence, and war ended by eliminating its causes from
the social order.  On the contrary they cling to the orthodox contention
that war is a necessary and salutary thing, and proclaim that the
American fibre was growing weak and flabby from luxury and peace,
curiously ignoring the fact that their own economic class, the small
percentage of our population owning sixty per cent. of the wealth of the
country, and which therefore should be most debilitated by luxury, was
most eager for war, and since war has been declared has most amply proved
its courage and fighting quality.  This, however, and other evidences of
the patriotic sacrifices of those of our countrymen who possess wealth,
prove that they are still Americans, and encourages the hope and belief
that as Americans they ultimately will do their share toward a democratic
solution of the problem of society.  Many of them are capable of vision,
and are beginning to see the light today.

In America we succeeded in eliminating hereditary power, in obtaining a
large measure of political liberty, only to see the rise of an economic
power, and the consequent loss of economic liberty.  The industrial
development of the United States was of course a necessary and desirable
thing, but the economic doctrine which formed the basis of American
institutions proved to be unsuited to industrialism, and introduced
unforeseen evils that were a serious menace to the Republic.  An
individualistic economic philosophy worked admirably while there was
ample land for the pioneer, equality of opportunity to satisfy the
individual initiative of the enterprising.  But what is known as
industrialism brought in its train fear and favour, privilege and
poverty, slums, disease, and municipal vice, fostered a too rapid
immigration, established in America a tenant system alien to our
traditions.  The conditions which existed before the advent of
industrialism are admirably pictured, for instance, in the autobiography
of Mr. Charles Francis Adams, when he describes his native town of Quincy
in the first half of the Nineteenth Century.  In those early communities,
poverty was negligible, there was no great contrast between rich and
poor; the artisan, the farmer, the well-to-do merchant met on terms of
mutual self-respect, as man to man; economic class consciousness was
non-existent; education was so widespread that European travellers
wonderingly commented on the fact that we had no "peasantry"; and with
few exceptions every citizen owned a piece of land and a home.  Property,
a refuge a man may call his own, and on which he may express his
individuality, is essential to happiness and self-respect.  Today, less
than two thirds of our farmers own their land, while vast numbers of our
working men and women possess nothing but the labour of their hands.  The
designation of labour as "property" by our courts only served to tighten
the bonds, by obstructing for a time the movement to decrease the tedious
and debilitating hours of contact of the human organism with the
machine,--a menace to the future of the race, especially in the case
of women and children.  If labour is "property," wretches driven by
economic necessity have indeed only the choice of a change of masters.
In addition to the manual workers, an army of clerical workers of both
sexes likewise became tenants, and dependents who knew not the
satisfaction of a real home.

Such conditions gradually brought about a profound discontent, a grouping
of classes.  Among the comparatively prosperous there was set up a social
competition in luxury that was the bane of large and small communities.
Skilled labour banded itself into unions, employers organized to oppose
them, and the result was a class conflict never contemplated by the
founders of the Republic, repugnant to democracy which by its very nature
depends for its existence on the elimination of classes.  In addition to
this, owing to the unprecedented immigration of ignorant Europeans to
supply the labour demand, we acquired a sinister proletariat of unskilled
economic slaves.  Before the war labour discovered its strength; since
the war began, especially in the allied nations with quasi-democratic
institutions, it is aware of its power to exert a leverage capable of
paralyzing industry for a period sufficient to destroy the chances of
victory.  The probability of the occurrence of such a calamity depends
wholly on whether or not the workman can be convinced that it is his war,
for he will not exert himself to perpetuate a social order in which he
has lost faith, even though he now obtains a considerable increase in
wages.  Agreements entered into with the government by union leaders will
not hold him if at any time he fails to be satisfied that the present
world conflict will not result in a greater social justice.  This fact
has been demonstrated by what is known as the "shop steward" movement in
England, where the workers repudiated the leaders' agreements and
everywhere organized local strikes.  And in America, the unskilled
workers are largely outside of the unions.

The workman has a natural and laudable desire to share more fully in the
good things of life.  And it is coming to be recognized that material
prosperity, up to a certain point, is the foundation of mental and
spiritual welfare: clean and comfortable surroundings, beauty, rational
amusements, opportunity for a rational satisfaction of, the human.
instincts are essential to contentment and progress.  The individual, of
course, must be enlightened; and local labour unions, recognizing this,
are spending considerable sums all over the country on schools to educate
their members.  If a workman is a profiteer, he is more to be excused
than the business profiteer, against whom his anger is directed; if he is
a spendthrift, prodigality is a natural consequence of rapid acquisition.
We have been a nation of spendthrifts.

A failure to grasp the psychology of the worker involves disastrous
consequences.  A discussion as to whether or not his attitude is
unpatriotic and selfish is futile.  No more profound mistake could be
made than to attribute to any element of the population motives wholly
base.  Human nature is neither all black nor all white, yet is capable of
supreme sacrifices when adequately appealed to.  What we must get into
our minds is the fact that a social order that insured a large measure of
democracy in the early days of the Republic is inadequate to meet modern
industrial conditions.  Higher wages, material prosperity alone will not
suffice to satisfy aspirations for a fuller self-realization, once the
method by which these aspirations can be gained is glimpsed.  For it
cannot be too often repeated that the unquenchable conflicts are those
waged for ideas and not dollars.  These are tinged with religious


Mr. Wilson's messages to the American people and to the world have
proclaimed a new international order, a League of Democracies.  And in a
recent letter to New Jersey Democrats we find him warning his party, or
more properly the nation, of the domestic social changes necessarily
flowing from his international program.  While rightly resolved to
prosecute the war on the battle lines to the utmost limit of American
resources, he points out that the true significance of the conflict lies
in "revolutionary change."  "Economic and social forces," he says, "are
being released upon the world, whose effect no political seer dare to
conjecture."  And we "must search our hearts through and through and make
them ready for the birth of a new day--a day we hope and believe of
greater opportunity and greater prosperity for the average mass of
struggling men and women."  He recognizes that the next great step in
the development of democracy which the war must bring about--is the
emancipation of labour; to use his own phrase, the redemption of masses
of men and women from "economic serfdom."  "The old party slogans," he
declares, "will mean nothing to the future."

Judging from this announcement, the President seems prepared to condemn
boldly all the rotten timbers of the social structure that have outlived
their usefulness--a position that hitherto no responsible politician has
dared to take.  Politicians, on the contrary, have revered the dead wood,
have sought to shore the old timbers for their own purposes.  But so far
as any party is concerned, Mr. Wilson stands alone.  Both of the two
great parties, the Republican and the Democratic, in order to make a show
of keeping abreast of the times, have merely patched their platforms with
the new ideas.  The Socialist Party in the United States is relatively
small, is divided against itself, and has given no evidence of a
leadership of broad sanity and vision.  It is fortunate we have been
spared in this country the formation of a political labour party, because
such a party would have been composed of manual workers alone, and hence
would have tended further to develop economic class consciousness, to
crystallize class antagonisms.  Today, however, neither the Republican
nor the Democratic party represents the great issue of the times; the
cleavage between them is wholly artificial.  The formation of a Liberal
Party, with a platform avowedly based on modern social science, has
become essential.  Such a party, to be in harmony with our traditions and
our creed, to arrest in our democracy the process of class stratification
which threatens to destroy it, must not draw its members from the ranks
of manual labour alone, but from all elements of our population.  It
should contain all the liberal professions, and clerks and shopkeepers,
as well as manual workers; administrators, and even those employers who
have become convinced that our present economic system does not suffice
to meet the needs of the day.  In short, membership in such a party, as
far as possible, should not be based upon occupation or economic status,
but on an honest difference of view from that of the conservative
opposition.  This would be a distinctly American solution.  In order to
form such a party a campaign of education will be necessary.  For today
Mr. Wilson's strength is derived from the independent vote representing
the faith of the people as a whole; but the majority of those who support
the President, while they ardently desire the abolition in the world of
absolute monarchy, of militarism and commercial imperialism, while they
are anxious that this war shall expedite and not retard the social
reforms in which they are interested, have as yet but a vague conception
of the social order which these reforms imply.

It marks a signal advance in democracy when liberal opinion in any
nation turns for guidance and support to a statesman of another nation.
No clearer sign of the times could be desired than the fact that our
American President has suddenly become the liberal leader of the world.
The traveller in France, and especially in Britain, meets on all sides
striking evidence of this.  In these countries, until America's entrance
into the war, liberals had grown more and more dissatisfied with the
failure of their governments to define in democratic terms the issue of
the conflict, had resented the secret inter-allied compacts, savouring of
imperialism and containing the germs of future war.  They are now looking
across the Atlantic for leadership.  In France M. Albert Thomas declared
that Woodrow Wilson had given voice to the aspirations of his party,
while a prominent Liberal in England announced in a speech that it had
remained for the American President to express the will and purpose of
the British people.  The new British Labour Party and the Inter-Allied
Labour and Socialist Conferences have adopted Mr. Wilson's program and
have made use of his striking phrases.  But we have between America and
Britain this difference: in America the President stands virtually alone,
without a party behind him representing his views; in Britain the general
democratic will of the nation is now being organized, but has obtained as
yet no spokesman in the government.

Extraordinary symptomatic phenomena have occurred in Russia as well as in
Britain.  In Russia the rebellion of an awakening people against an
age-long tyranny has almost at once leaped to the issue of the day, taken
on the complexion of a struggle for industrial democracy.  Whether the
Germans shall be able to exploit the country, bring about a reaction and
restore for a time monarchical institutions depends largely upon the
fortunes of the war.  In Russia there is revolution, with concomitant
chaos; but in Britain there is evolution, an orderly attempt of a people
long accustomed to progress in self-government to establish a new social
order, peacefully and scientifically, and in accordance with a
traditional political procedure.

The recent development of the British Labour Party, although of deep
significance to Americans, has taken place almost without comment in this
country.  It was formally established in 1900, and was then composed of
manual workers alone.  In 1906, out of 50 candidates at the polls, 39
were elected to Parliament; in 1910, 42 were elected.  The Parliamentary
Labour Party, so called, has now been amalgamated with four and a half
millions of Trade Unionists, and with the three and a half millions of
members of the Co-operative Wholesale Society and the Co-operative Union.
Allowing for duplication of membership, these three organizations
--according to Mr. Sidney Webb--probably include two fifths of the
population of the United Kingdom.  "So great an aggregation of working
class organizations," he says, "has never come shoulder to shoulder in
any country."  Other smaller societies and organizations are likewise
embraced, including the Socialists.  And now that the suffrage has been
extended, provision is made for the inclusion of women.  The new party is
organizing in from three to four hundred constituencies, and at the next
general election is not unlikely to gain control of the political balance
of power.

With the majority of Americans, however, the word "labour" as designating
a party arouses suspicion and distrust.  By nature and tradition we are
inclined to deplore and oppose any tendency toward the stratification of
class antagonisms--the result of industrial discontent--into political
groups.  The British tradition is likewise hostile to such a tendency.
But in Britain the industrial ferment has gone much further than with us,
and such a result was inevitable.  By taking advantage of the British
experience, of the closer ties now being knit between the two
democracies, we may in America be spared a stage which in Britain was
necessary.  Indeed, the program of the new British Labour Party seems to
point to a distinctly American solution, one in harmony with the steady
growth of Anglo-Saxon democracy.  For it is now announced that the word
"labour," as applied to the new party, does not mean manual labour alone,
but also mental labour.  The British unions have gradually developed and
placed in power leaders educated in social science, who have now come
into touch with the intellectual leaders of the United Kingdom, with the
sociologists, economists, and social scientists.  The surprising and
encouraging result of such association is the announcement that the new
Labour Party is today publicly thrown open to all workers, both by hand
and by brain, with the object of securing for these the full fruits of
their industry.  This means the inclusion of physicians, professors,
writers, architects, engineers, and inventors, of lawyers who no longer
regard their profession as a bulwark of the status quo; of clerks, of
administrators of the type evolved by the war, who indeed have gained
their skill under the old order but who now in a social spirit are
dedicating their gifts to the common weal, organizing and directing vast
enterprises for their governments.  In short, all useful citizens who
make worthy contributions--as distinguished from parasites, profiteers,
and drones, are invited to be members; there is no class distinction
here.  The fortunes of such a party are, of course, dependent upon the
military success of the allied armies and navies.  But it has defined the
kind of democracy the Allies are fighting for, and thus has brought about
an unqualified endorsement of the war by those elements of the population
which hitherto have felt the issue to be imperialistic and vague rather
than democratic and clear cut.  President Wilson's international program
is approved of and elaborated.

The Report on Reconstruction of the new British Labour Party is perhaps
the most important political document presented to the world since the
Declaration of Independence.  And like the Declaration, it is written in
the pure English that alone gives the high emotional quality of
sincerity.  The phrases in which it tersely describes its objects are
admirable.  "What is to be reconstructed after the war is over is not
this or that government department, this or that piece of social
machinery, but Society itself."  There is to be a systematic approach
towards a "healthy equality of material circumstance for every person
born into the world, and not an enforced dominion over subject nations,
subject colonies, subject classes, or a subject sex."  In industry as
well as in government the social order is to be based "on that equal
freedom, that general consciousness of consent, and that widest
participation in power, both economic and political, which is
characteristic of democracy."  But all this, it should be noted, is not
to be achieved in a year or two of "feverish reconstruction"; "each brick
that the Labour Party helps to lay shall go to erect the structure it
intends and no other."

In considering the main features of this program, one must have in mind
whether these are a logical projection and continuation of the
Anglo-Saxon democratic tradition, or whether they constitute an absolute
break with that tradition.  The only valid reason for the adoption of
such a program in America would be, of course, the restoration of some
such equality of opportunity and economic freedom as existed in our
Republic before we became an industrial nation.  "The first condition of
democracy,"--to quote again from the program, "is effective personal

What is called the "Universal Enforcement of the National Minimum"
contemplates the extension of laws already on the statute books in order
to prevent the extreme degradation of the standard of life brought about
by the old economic system under industrialism.  A living minimum wage is
to be established.  The British Labour Party intends "to secure to every
member of the community, in good times and bad alike .  .  .  all the
requisites of healthy life and worthy citizenship."

After the war there is to be no cheap labour market, nor are the millions
of workers and soldiers to fall into the clutches of charity; but it
shall be a national obligation to provide each of these with work
according to his capacity.  In order to maintain the demand for labour
at a uniform level, the government is to provide public works.  The
population is to be rehoused in suitable dwellings, both in rural
districts and town slums; new and more adequate schools and training
colleges are to be inaugurated; land is to be reclaimed and afforested,
and gradually brought under common ownership; railways and canals are to
be reorganized and nationalized, mines and electric power systems.  One
of the significant proposals under this head is that which demands the
retention of the centralization of the purchase of raw materials brought
about by the war.

In order to accomplish these objects there must be a "Revolution in
National Finance."  The present method of raising funds is denounced; and
it is pointed out that only one quarter of the colossal expenditure made
necessary by the war has been raised by taxation, and that the three
quarters borrowed at onerous rates is sure to be a burden on the nation's
future.  The capital needed, when peace comes, to ensure a happy and
contented democracy must be procured without encroaching on the minimum
standard of life, and without hampering production.  Indirect taxation
must therefore be concentrated on those luxuries of which it is desirable
that the consumption be discouraged.  The steadily rising unearned
increment of urban and mineral land ought, by appropriate direct
taxation, to be brought into the public exchequer; "the definite
teachings of economic science are no longer to be disregarded."  Hence
incomes are to be taxed above the necessary cost of family maintenance,
private fortunes during life and at death; while a special capital levy
must be made to pay off a substantial portion of the national debt.

"The Democratic Control of Industry" contemplates the progressive
elimination of the private capitalist and the setting free of all who
work by hand and brain for the welfare of all.

The Surplus Wealth is to be expended for the Common Good.  That which
Carlyle designates as the "inward spiritual," in contrast to the "outward
economical," is also to be provided for.  "Society," says the document,
"like the individual, does not live by bread alone, does not exist only
for perpetual wealth production."  First of all, there is to be education
according to the highest modern standard; and along with education, the
protection and advancement of the public health, 'mens sana in corpore
sano'.  While large sums must be set aside, not only for original
research in every branch of knowledge, but for the promotion of music,
literature, and fine art, upon which "any real development of
civilization fundamentally depends."

In regard to the British Empire, the Labour Party urges self-government
for any people, whatever its colour, proving itself capable, and the
right of that people to the proceeds of its own toil upon the resources
of its territory.  An unequivocal stand is taken for the establishment,
as a part of the treaty of peace, of a Universal Society of Nations;
and recognizing that the future progress of democracy depends upon
co-operation and fellowship between liberals of all countries, the
maintenance of intimate relationships is advocated with liberals oversea.

Finally, a scientific investigation of each succeeding problem in
government is insisted upon, and a much more rapid dissemination among
the people of the science that exists.  "A plutocratic party may choose
to ignore science, but no labour party can hope to maintain its position
unless its proposals are, in fact, the outcome of the best political
science of its time."


There are, it will be seen, some elements in the program of the new
British Labour Party apparently at variance with American and English
institutions, traditions, and ideas.  We are left in doubt, for instance,
in regard to its attitude toward private property.  The instinct for
property is probably innate in humanity, and American conservatism in
this regard is, according to certain modern economists, undoubtedly
sound.  A man should be permitted to acquire at least as much property
as is required for the expression of his personality; such a wise
limitation, also, would abolish the evil known as absentee ownership.
Again, there will arise in many minds the question whether the funds for
the plan of National finance outlined in the program may be obtained
without seriously deranging the economic system of the nation and of the
world.  The older school denounces the program as Utopian.  On the other
hand, economists of the modern school who have been consulted have
declared it practical.  It is certain that before the war began it would
not have been thought possible to raise the billions which in four years
have been expended on sheer destruction; and one of our saddest
reflections today must be of regret that a small portion of these
billions which have gone to waste could not have been expended for the
very purposes outlined--education, public health, the advancement of
science and art, public buildings, roads and parks, and the proper
housing of populations!  It is also dawning upon us, as a result of new
practices brought about by the war, that our organization of industry was
happy-go-lucky, inefficient and wasteful, and that a more scientific and
economical organization is imperative.  Under such a new system it may
well be, as modern economists claim, that, we shall have an ample surplus
for the Common Good.

The chief objection to a National or Democratic Control of Industry has
been that it would tend to create vast political machines and thus give
the politicians in office a nefarious power.  It is not intended here to
attempt a refutation of this contention.  The remedy lies in a changed
attitude of the employee and the citizen toward government, and the fact
that such an attitude is now developing is not subject to absolute proof.
It may be said, however, that no greater menace to democracy could have
arisen than the one we seem barely to have escaped--the control of
politics and government by the capitalistic interests of the nation.
What seems very clear is that an evolutionary drift toward the national
control of industry has for many years been going on, and that the war
has tremendously speeded up the tendency.  Government has stepped in to
protect the consumer of necessities from the profiteer, and is beginning
to set a limit upon profits; has regulated exports and imports;
established a national shipping corporation and merchant marine, and
entered into other industries; it has taken over the railroads at least
for the duration of the war, and may take over coal mines, and metal
resources, as well as the forests and water power; it now contemplates
the regulation of wages.

The exigency caused by the war, moreover, has transformed the former
practice of international intercourse.  Co-operation has replaced
competition.  We are reorganizing and regulating our industries, our
business, making sacrifices and preparing to make more sacrifices in
order to meet the needs of our Allies, now that they are sore beset.
For a considerable period after the war is ended, they will require our
aid.  We shall be better off than any other of the belligerent nations,
and we shall therefore be called upon to practice, during the years of
reconstruction, a continuation of the same policy of helpfulness.
Indeed, for the nations of the world to spring, commercially speaking,
at one another's throats would be suicidal even if it were possible.
Mr. Sidney Webb has thrown a flood of light upon the conditions likely
to prevail.  For example, speculative export trade is being replaced by
collective importing, bringing business more directly under the control
of the consumer.  This has been done by co-operative societies, by
municipalities and states, in Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom,
and in Germany.  The Co-operative Wholesale Society of Great Britain,
acting on behalf of three and a half million families, buys two and a
half million dollars of purchases annually.  And the Entente nations, in
order to avoid competitive bidding, are buying collectively from us, not
only munitions of war, but other supplies, while the British Government
has made itself the sole importer of such necessities as wheat, sugar,
tea, refrigerated meat, wool, and various metals.  The French and Italian
governments, and also certain neutral states, have done likewise.  A
purchasing commission for all the Allies and America is now proposed.
After the war, as an inevitable result, for one thing, of transforming
some thirty million citizens into soldiers, of engaging a like number of
men and women at enhanced wages on the manufacture of the requisites of
war, Mr. Webb predicts a world shortage not only in wheat and foodstuffs
but in nearly all important raw materials.  These will be required for
the resumption of manufacture.  In brief, international co-operation will
be the only means of salvation.  The policy of international trade
implied by world shortage is not founded upon a law of "supply and
demand."  The necessities cannot be permitted to go to those who can
afford to pay the highest prices, but to those who need them most.  For
the "free play of economic forces" would mean famine on a large scale,
because the richer nations and the richer classes within the nations
might be fully supplied; but to the detriment and ruin of the world the
poorer nations and the poorer classes would be starved.  Therefore
governments are already beginning to give consideration to a new
organization of international trade for at least three years after the
war.  Now if this organization produce, as it may produce, a more
desirable civilization and a happier world order, we are not likely
entirely to go back--especially in regard to commodities which are
necessities--to a competitive system.  The principle of "priority of
need" will supersede the law of "supply and demand."  And the
organizations built up during the war, if they prove efficient, will not
be abolished.  Hours of labour and wages in the co-operative League of
Nations will gradually be equalized, and tariffs will become things of
the past.  "The axiom will be established," says Mr. Webb, "that the
resources of every country must, be held for the benefit not only of its
own people but of the world .  .  .  .  The world shortage will, for
years to come, make import duties look both oppressive and ridiculous."

So much may be said for the principle of Democratic Control.  In spite of
all theoretical opposition, circumstances and evolution apparently point
to its establishment.  A system that puts a premium on commercial greed
seems no longer possible.

The above comments, based on the drift of political practice during the
past decade and a half, may be taken for what they are worth.
Predictions are precarious.  The average American will be inclined to
regard the program of the new British Labour Party as the embodiment of
what he vaguely calls Socialism, and to him the very word is repugnant.
Although he may never have heard of Marx, it is the Marxian conception
that comes to his mind, and this implies coercion, a government that
constantly interferes with his personal liberty, that compels him to
tasks for which he has no relish.  But your American, and your
Englishman, for that matter, is inherently an individualist he wants as
little government as is compatible with any government at all.  And the
descendants of the continental Europeans who flock to our shores are
Anglo-Saxonized, also become by environment and education individualists.
The great importance of preserving this individualism, this spirit in our
citizens of self-reliance, this suspicion against too much interference
with personal liberty, must at once be admitted.  And any scheme for a
social order that tends to eliminate and destroy it should by Americans
be summarily rejected.

The question of supreme interest to us, therefore, is whether the social
order implied in the British program is mainly in the nature of a
development of, or a break with, the Anglo-Saxon democratic tradition.
The program is derived from an English source.  It is based on what is
known as modern social science, which has as its ultimate sanction the
nature of the human mind as revealed by psychology.  A consideration of
the principles underlying this proposed social order may prove that it is
essentially--if perhaps paradoxically--individualistic, a logical
evolution of institutions which had their origin in the Magna Charta.
Our Declaration of Independence proclaimed that every citizen had the
right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," which means the
opportunity to achieve the greatest self-development and self-realization.
The theory is that each citizen shall find his place, according to his
gifts and abilities, and be satisfied therewith.  We may discover that
this is precisely what social science, in an industrial age, and by
spiritualizing human effort, aims to achieve.  We may find that the
appearance of such a program as that of the British Labour Party,
supported as it is by an imposing proportion of the population of the
United Kingdom, marks a further step, not only in the advance of social
science and democracy, but also of Christianity.

I mention Christianity, not for controversial or apologetic reasons, but
because it has been the leaven of our western civilization ever since the
fall of the Roman Empire.  Its constant influence has been to soften and
spiritualize individual and national relationships.  The bitter
controversies, wars, and persecutions which have raged in its name are
utterly alien to its being.  And that the present war is now being fought
by the Allies in the hope of putting an end to war, and is thus in the
true spirit of Christianity, marks an incomparable advance.

Almost up to the present day, both in our conception and practice of
Christianity, we have largely neglected its most important elements.
Christian orthodoxy, as Auguste Sabatier points out, is largely derived
from the older supernatural religions.  The preservative shell of dogma
and superstition has been cracking, and is now ready to burst, and the
social teaching of Jesus would seem to be the kernel from which has
sprung modern democracy, modern science, and modern religion--a trinity
and unity.

For nearly two thousand years orthodoxy has insisted that the social
principles of Christianity are impractical.  And indeed, until the
present day, they have been so.  Physical science, by enormously
accelerating the means of transportation and communication, has so
contracted the world as to bring into communion peoples and races
hitherto far apart; has made possible an intelligent organization of
industry which, for the first time in history, can create a surplus ample
to maintain in comfort the world's population.  But this demands the will
to co-operation, which is a Christian principle--a recognition of the
brotherhood of man.  Furthermore, physical science has increased the need
for world peace and international co-operation because the territories of
all nations are now subject to swift and terrible invasion by modern
instruments of destruction, while the future submarine may sweep commerce
from the seas.

Again, orthodoxy declares that human nature is inherently "bad," while
true Christianity, endorsed by psychology, proclaims it inherently
"good," which means that, properly guided, properly educated, it is
creative and contributive rather than destructive.  No more striking
proof of this fact can be cited than the modern experiment in prison
reform in which hardened convicts, when "given a chance," frequently
become useful citizens.  Unjust and unintelligent social conditions are
the chief factors in making criminals.

Our most modern system of education, of which Professor John Dewey is the
chief protagonist, is based upon the assertions of psychology that human
nature is essentially "good" creative.  Every normal child is supposed to
have a special "distinction" or gift, which it is the task of the
educator to discover.  This distinction found, the child achieves
happiness in creation and contribution.  Self-realization demands
knowledge and training: the doing of right is not a negative but a
positive act; it is not without significance that the Greek word for sin
is literally "missing the mark."  Christianity emphasizes above all else
the worth of the individual, yet recognizes that the individual can
develop only in society.  And if the individual be of great worth, this
worth must be by society developed to its utmost.  Universal suffrage is
a logical corollary.

Universal suffrage, however, implies individual judgment, which means
that the orthodox principle of external authority is out of place both
in Christianity and democracy.  The Christian theory is that none shall
intervene between a man's Maker and himself; democracy presupposes that
no citizen shall accept his beliefs and convictions from others, but
shall make up his own mind and act accordingly.  Open-mindedness is the
first requisite of science and democracy.

What has been deemed, however, in Christianity the most unrealizable
ideal is that which may be called pacifism--to resist not evil, to turn
the other cheek, to agree with your adversary while you are in the way
with him.  "I come not," said Jesus, in one of those paradoxical
statements hitherto so difficult to understand, "I come not to bring
peace, but a sword."  It is indeed what we are fighting for--peace.  But
we believe today, more strongly than ever before, as democracy advances,
as peoples tend to gain more and more control over their governments,
that even this may not be an unrealizable ideal.  Democracies, intent on
self-realization and self-development, do not desire war.

The problem of social science, then, appears to be to organize human
society on the principles and ideals of Christianity.  But in view of the
fact that the trend of evolution is towards the elimination of commercial
competition, the question which must seriously concern us today is--What
in the future shall be the spur of individual initiative?  Orthodoxy and
even democratic practice have hitherto taken it for granted--in spite of
the examples of highly socialized men, benefactors of society--that
the average citizen will bestir himself only for material gain.  And it
must be admitted that competition of some sort is necessary for
self-realization, that human nature demands a prize.  There can be no
self-sacrifice without a corresponding self-satisfaction.  The answer
is that in the theory of democracy, as well as in that of Christianity,
individualism and co-operation are paradoxically blended.  For
competition, Christianity substitutes emulation.  And with democracy,
it declares that mankind itself can gradually be rained towards the level
of the choice individual who does not labour for gain, but in behalf of
society.  For the process of democracy is not degrading, but lifting.
Like Christianity, democracy demands faith, and has as its inspiring
interpretation of civilization evolution towards a spiritual goal.  Yet
the kind of faith required is no longer a blind faith, but one founded on
sane and carefully evolved theories.  Democracy has become a scientific

In this connection, as one notably inspired by emulation, by the joy of
creative work and service, the medical profession comes first to mind.
The finer element in this profession is constantly increasing in numbers,
growing more and more influential, making life less easy for the quack,
the vendor of nostrums, the commercial proprietor of the bogus medical
college.  The doctor who uses his talents for gain is frowned upon by
those of his fellow practitioners whose opinion really counts.  Respected
physicians in our cities give much of their time to teaching, animating
students with their own spirit; and labour long hours, for no material
return, in the clinics of the poor.  And how often, in reading our
newspapers, do we learn that some medical scientist, by patient work, and
often at the risk of life and health, has triumphed over a scourge which
has played havoc with humanity throughout the ages!  Typhoid has been
conquered, and infant paralysis; gangrene and tetanus, which have taken
such toll of the wounded in Flanders and France; yellow fever has been
stamped out in the tropics; hideous lesions are now healed by a system of
drainage.  The very list of these achievements is bewildering, and
latterly we are given hope of the prolongation of life itself.  Here in
truth are Christian deeds multiplied by science, made possible by a
growing knowledge of and mastery over Nature.

Such men by virtue of their high mission are above the vicious social and
commercial competition poisoning the lives of so many of their fellow
citizens.  In our democracy they have found their work, and the work is
its own reward.  They give striking testimony to the theory that
absorption in a creative or contributive task is the only source of
self-realization.  And he has little faith in mankind who shall declare
that the medical profession is the only group capable of being
socialized, or, rather, of socializing themselves--for such is the true
process of democracy.  Public opinion should be the leaven.  What is
possible for the doctor is also possible for the lawyer, for the teacher.
In a democracy, teaching should be the most honoured of the professions,
and indeed once was,--before the advent of industrialism, when it
gradually fell into neglect,--occasionally into deplorable submission to
the possessors of wealth.  Yet a wage disgracefully low, hardship, and
even poverty have not hindered men of ability from entering it in
increasing numbers, renouncing ease and luxuries.  The worth of the
contributions of our professors to civilization has been inestimable; and
fortunately signs are not lacking that we are coming to an appreciation
of the value of the expert in government, who is replacing the panderer
and the politician.  A new solidarity of teaching professional opinion,
together with a growing realization by our public of the primary
importance of the calling, is tending to emancipate it, to establish it
in its rightful place.

Nor are our engineers without their ideal.  A Goethals did not cut an
isthmus in two for gain.

Industrialism, with its concomitant "corporation" practice, has
undoubtedly been detrimental to the legal profession, since it has
resulted in large fees; in the accumulation of vast fortunes, frequently
by methods ethically questionable.  Grave social injustices have been
done, though often in good faith, since the lawyer, by training and
experience, has hitherto been least open to the teachings of the new
social science, has been an honest advocate of the system of 'laissez
faire'.  But to say that the American legal profession is without ideals
and lacking in the emulative spirit would be to do it a grave injustice.
The increasing influence of national and state bar associations evidences
a professional opinion discouraging to the unscrupulous; while a new
evolutionary and more humanitarian conception of law is now beginning to
be taught, and young men are entering the ranks imbued with this.  Legal
clinics, like medical clinics, are established for the benefit of those
who cannot afford to pay fees, for the protection of the duped from the
predatory quack.  And, it must be said of this profession, which hitherto
has held a foremost place in America, that its leaders have never
hesitated to respond to a public call, to sacrifice their practices to
serve the nation.  Their highest ambition has even been to attain the
Supreme Court, where the salary is a mere pittance compared to what they
may earn as private citizens.

Thus we may review all the groups in the nation, but the most significant
transformation of all is taking place within the business group,--where
indeed it might be least expected.  Even before the war there were many
evidences that the emulative spirit in business had begun to modify the
merely competitive, and we had the spectacle of large employers of
labour awakening to the evils of industrialism, and themselves attempting
to inaugurate reforms.  As in the case of labour, it would be obviously
unfair to claim that the employer element was actuated by motives of
self-interest alone; nor were their concessions due only to fear.
Instances could be cited, if there were space, of voluntary shortening of
hours of labour, of raising of wages, when no coercion was exerted either
by the labour unions or the state; and--perhaps to their surprise
employers discovered that such acts were not only humane but profitable!
Among these employers, in fact, may be observed individuals in various
stages of enlightenment, from the few who have educated themselves in
social science, who are convinced that the time has come when it is not
only practicable but right, who realize that a new era has dawned; to
others who still believe in the old system, who are trying to bolster it
up by granting concessions, by establishing committees of conference, by
giving a voice and often a financial interest, but not a vote, in the
conduct of the corporation concerned.  These are the counterpart, in
industry, of sovereigns whose away has been absolute, whose intentions
are good, but who hesitate, often from conviction, to grant
constitutions.  Yet even these are responding in some degree to social
currents, though the aggressive struggles of labour may have influenced
them, and partially opened their eyes.  They are far better than their
associates who still seek to control the supplies of food and other
necessities, whose efficiency is still solely directed, not toward a
social end, but toward the amassing of large fortunes, and is therefore
wasted so far as society is concerned.  They do not perceive that by
seeking to control prices they merely hasten the tendency of government
control, for it is better to have government regulation for the benefit
of the many than proprietary control, however efficient, for the benefit
of the few.

That a significant change of heart and mind has begun to take place
amongst capitalists, that the nucleus of a "public opinion" has been
formed within an element which, by the use and wont of business and
habits of thought might be regarded as least subject to the influence of
social ideas, is a most hopeful augury.  This nascent opinion has begun
to operate by shaming unscrupulous and recalcitrant employers into better
practices.  It would indeed fare ill with democracy if, in such an era,
men of large business proved to be lacking in democratic initiative,
wholly unreceptive and hostile to the gradual introduction of democracy
into industry, which means the perpetuation of the American Idea.
Fortunately, with us, this capitalistic element is of comparatively
recent growth, the majority of its members are essentially Americans;
they have risen from small beginnings, and are responsive to a democratic
appeal--if that appeal be properly presented.  And, as a matter of fact,
for many years a leaven had been at work among them; the truth has been
brought home to them that the mere acquisition of wealth brings neither
happiness nor self-realization; they have lavished their money on
hospitals and universities, clinics, foundations for scientific research,
and other gifts of inestimable benefit to the nation and mankind.
Although the munificence was on a Medicean scale, this private charity
was in accord with the older conception of democracy, and paved the way
for a new order.

The patriotic and humanitarian motive aroused by the war greatly
accelerated the socializing transformation of the business man and the
capitalist.  We have, indeed, our profiteers seeking short cuts to luxury
and wealth; but those happily most representative of American affairs,
including the creative administrators, hastened to Washington with a
willingness to accept any position in which they might be useful, and
in numerous instances placed at the disposal of the government the
manufacturing establishments which, by industry and ability, they
themselves had built up.  That in thus surrendering the properties for
which they were largely responsible they hoped at the conclusion of peace
to see restored the 'status quo ante' should not be held against them.
Some are now beginning to surmise that a complete restoration is
impossible; and as a result of their socializing experience, are even
wondering whether it is desirable.  These are beginning to perceive that
the national and international organizations in the course of
construction to meet the demands of the world conflict must form the
model for a future social structure; that the unprecedented pressure
caused by the cataclysm is compelling a recrystallization of society in
which there must be fewer misfits, in which many more individuals than
formerly shall find public or semi-public tasks in accordance with their
gifts and abilities.

It may be argued that war compels socialization, that after the war the
world will perforce return to materialistic individualism.  But this
calamity, terrible above all others, has warned us of the imperative need
of an order that shall be socializing, if we are not to witness the
destruction of our civilization itself.  Confidence that such an order,
thanks to the advancement of science, is now within our grasp should not
be difficult for Americans, once they have rightly conceived it.  We, who
have always pinned our faith to ideas, who entered the conflict for an
Idea, must be the last to shirk the task, however Herculean, of world
reconstruction along the lines of our own professed faith.  We cannot be
renegades to Democracy.

Above all things, then, it is essential for us as a people not to abandon
our faith in man, our belief that not only the exceptional individual but
the majority of mankind can be socialized.  What is true of our
physicians, our scientists and professional men, our manual workers, is
also true of our capitalists and business men.  In a more just and
intelligent organization of society these will be found willing to
administer and improve for the common weal the national resources which
formerly they exploited for the benefit of themselves and their
associates.  The social response, granted the conditions, is innate in
humanity, and individual initiative can best be satisfied in social

Universal education is the cornerstone of democracy.  And the recognition
of this fact may be called the great American contribution.  But in our
society the fullest self-realization depends upon a well balanced
knowledge of scientific facts, upon a rounded culture.  Thus education,
properly conceived, is a preparation for intelligent, ethical, and
contented citizenship.  Upon the welfare of the individual depends the
welfare of all.  Without education, free institutions and universal
suffrage are mockeries; semi-learned masses of the population are at the
mercy of scheming politicians, controversialists, and pseudo-scientific
religionists, and their votes are swayed by prejudice.

In a materialistic competitive order, success in life depends upon the
knack--innate or acquired, and not to be highly rated--of outwitting
one's neighbour under the rules of the game--the law; education is merely
a cultural leaven within the reach of the comparatively few who can
afford to attend a university.  The business college is a more logical
institution.  In an emulative civilization, however, the problem is to
discover and develop in childhood and youth the personal aptitude or gift
of as many citizens as possible, in order that they may find
self-realization by making their peculiar contribution towards the
advancement of society.

The prevailing system of education, which we have inherited from the
past, largely fails to accomplish this.  In the first place, it has been
authoritative rather than scientific, which is to say that students have
been induced to accept the statements of teachers and text books, and
have not been trained to weigh for themselves their reasonableness and
worth; a principle essentially unscientific and undemocratic, since it
inculcates in the future citizen convictions rather than encourages the
habit of open-mindedness so necessary for democratic citizenship.  For
democracy--it cannot be too often repeated--is a dynamic thing,
experimental, creative in its very essence.  No static set of opinions
can apply to the constantly changing aspect of affairs.  New discoveries,
which come upon us with such bewildering rapidity, are apt abruptly to
alter social and industrial conditions, while morals and conventions are
no longer absolute.  Sudden crises threaten the stability of nations and
civilizations.  Safety lies alone in the ability to go forward, to
progress.  Psychology teaches us that if authoritative opinions,
convictions, or "complexes" are stamped upon the plastic brain of the
youth they tend to harden, and he is apt to become a Democrat or
Republican, an Episcopalian or a Baptist, a free trader or a tariff
advocate or a Manchester economist without asking why.  Such "complexes"
were probably referred to by the celebrated physician who emphasized the
hopelessness of most individuals over forty.  And every reformer and
forum lecturer knows how difficult it is to convert the average audience
of seasoned adults to a new idea: he finds the most responsive groups in
the universities and colleges.  It is significant that the "educated"
adult audiences in clubs and prosperous churches are the least open to
conversion, because, in the scientific sense, the "educated" classes
retain complexes, and hence are the least prepared to cope with the world
as it is today.  The German system, which has been bent upon installing
authoritative conviction instead of encouraging freedom of thought,
should be a warning to us.

Again, outside of the realm of physical science, our text books have been
controversial rather than impartial, especially in economics and history;
resulting in erroneous and distorted and prejudiced ideas of events,
such for instance, as our American Revolution.  The day of the
controversialist is happily coming to an end, and of the writer who
twists the facts of science to suit a world of his own making, or of that
of a group with which he is associated.  Theory can now be labelled
theory, and fact, fact.  Impartial and painstaking investigation is the
sole method of obtaining truth.

The old system of education benefited only the comparatively few to
whose nature and inclination it was adapted.  We have need, indeed, of
classical scholars, but the majority of men and women are meant for other
work; many, by their very construction of mind, are unfitted to become
such.  And only in the most exceptional cases are the ancient languages
really mastered; a smattering of these, imposed upon the unwilling
scholar by a principle opposed to psychology,--a smattering from which is
derived no use and joy in after life, and which has no connection with
individual inclination--is worse than nothing.  Precious time is wasted
during the years when the mind is most receptive.  While the argument of
the old school that discipline can only be inculcated by the imposition
of a distasteful task is unsound.  As Professor Dewey points out, unless
the interest is in some way involved there can be no useful discipline.
And how many of our university and high school graduates today are in any
sense disciplined?  Stimulated interest alone can overcome the resistance
imposed by a difficult task, as any scientist, artist, organizer or
administrator knows.  Men will discipline themselves to gain a desired
end.  Under the old system of education a few children succeed either
because they are desirous of doing well, interested in the game of mental
competition; or else because they contrive to clothe with flesh and blood
some subject presented as a skeleton.  It is not uncommon, indeed, to
recognize in later years with astonishment a useful citizen or genius
whom at school or college we recall as a dunce or laggard.  In our
present society, because of archaic methods of education, the development
of such is largely left to chance.  Those who might have been developed
in time, who might have found their task, often become wasters, drudges,
and even criminals.

The old system tends to make types, to stamp every scholar in the same
mould, whether he fits it or not.  More and more the parents of today are
looking about for new schools, insisting that a son or daughter possesses
some special gift which, under teachers of genius, might be developed
before it is too late.  And in most cases, strange to say, the parents
are right.  They themselves have been victims of a standardized system.

A new and distinctly American system of education, designed to meet the
demands of modern conditions, has been put in practice in parts of the
United States.  In spite of opposition from school boards, from all those
who cling to the conviction that education must of necessity be an
unpalatable and "disciplinary" process, the number of these schools is
growing.  The objection, put forth by many, that they are still in the
experimental stage, is met by the reply that experiment is the very
essence of the system.  Democracy is experimental, and henceforth
education will remain experimental for all time.  But, as in any other
branch of science, the element of ascertained fact will gradually
increase: the latent possibilities in the mind of the healthy child will
be discovered by knowledge gained through impartial investigation.  The
old system, like all other institutions handed down to us from the ages,
proceeds on no intelligent theory, has no basis on psychology, and is
accepted merely because it exists.

The new education is selective.  The mind of each child is patiently
studied with the view of discovering the peculiar bent, and this bent is
guided and encouraged.  The child is allowed to forge ahead in those
subjects for which he shows an aptitude, and not compelled to wait on a
class.  Such supervision, of course, demands more teachers, teachers of
an ability hitherto deplorably rare, and thoroughly trained in their
subjects, with a sympathetic knowledge of the human mind.  Theirs will be
the highest and most responsible function in the state, and they must be
rewarded in proportion to their services.

A superficial criticism declares that in the new schools children will
study only "what they like."  On the contrary, all subjects requisite for
a wide culture, as well as for the ability to cope with existence in a
highly complex civilization, are insisted upon.  It is true, however,
that the trained and gifted teacher is able to discover a method of so
presenting a subject as to seize the imagination and arouse the interest
and industry of a majority of pupils.  In the modern schools French, for
example, is really taught; pupils do not acquire a mere smattering of the
language.  And, what is more important, the course of study is directly
related to life, and to practical experience, instead of being set forth
abstractly, as something which at the time the pupil perceives no
possibility of putting into use.  At one of the new schools in the south,
the ignorant child of the mountains at once acquires a knowledge of
measurement and elementary arithmetic by laying out a garden, of letters
by inscribing his name on a little signboard in order to identify his
patch--for the moment private property.  And this principle is carried
through all the grades.  In the Gary Schools and elsewhere the making of
things in the shops, the modelling of a Panama Canal, the inspection of
industries and governmental establishments, the designing, building, and
decoration of houses, the discussion and even dramatization of the books
read,--all are a logical and inevitable continuation of the abstract
knowledge of the schoolroom.  The success of the direct application of
learning to industrial and professional life may also be observed in such
colleges as those at Cincinnati and Schenectady, where young men spend
half the time of the course in the shops of manufacturing, corporations,
often earning more than enough to pay their tuition.

Children are not only prepared for democratic citizenship by being
encouraged to think for themselves, but also to govern and discipline
themselves.  On the moral side, under the authoritative system of lay
and religious training, character was acquired at the expense of mental
flexibility--the Puritan method; our problem today, which the new system
undertakes, is to produce character with open-mindedness--the kind of
character possessed by many great scientists.  Absorption in an
appropriate task creates a moral will, while science, knowledge, informs
the mind why a thing is "bad" or "good," disintegrating or upbuilding.
Moreover, these children are trained for democratic government by the
granting of autonomy.  They have their own elected officials, their own
courts; their decisions are, of course, subject to reversal by the
principal, but in practice this seldom occurs.

The Gary Schools and many of the new schools are public schools.  And the
principle of the new education that the state is primarily responsible
for the health of pupils--because an unsound body is apt to make an
unsound citizen of backward intelligence--is now being generally adopted
by public schools all over the country.  This idea is essentially an
element of the democratic contention that all citizens must be given
an equality of opportunity--though all may not be created equal--now
becoming a positive rather than a negative right, guaranteed by the state
itself.  An earnest attempt is thus made by the state to give every
citizen a fair start that in later years he may have no ground for
discontent or complaint.  He stands on his own feet, he rises in
proportion to his ability and industry.  Hence the program of the British
Labour Party rightly lays stress on education, on "freedom of mental
opportunity."  The vast sums it proposes to spend for this purpose are

If such a system of education as that briefly outlined above is carefully
and impartially considered, the objection that democratic government
founded on modern social science is coercive must disappear.  So far as
the intention and effort of the state is able to confer it, every citizen
will have his choice of the task he is to perform for society, his
opportunity for self-realization.  For freedom without education is a
myth.  By degrees men and women are making ready to take their places in
an emulative rather than a materialistically competitive order.  But the
experimental aspect of this system should always be borne in mind, with
the fact that its introduction and progress, like that of other elements
in the democratic program, must be gradual, though always proceeding
along sound lines.  For we have arrived at that stage of enlightenment
when we realize that the only mundane perfection lies in progress rather
than achievement.  The millennium is always a lap ahead.  There would be
no satisfaction in overtaking it, for then we should have nothing more to
do, nothing more to work for.

The German Junkers have prostituted science by employing it for the
destruction of humanity.  In the name of Christianity they have waged the
most barbaric war in history.  Yet if they shall have demonstrated to
mankind the futility of efficiency achieved merely for material ends; if,
by throwing them on a world screen, they shall have revealed the evils of
power upheld alone by ruthlessness and force, they will unwittingly have
performed a world service.  Privilege and dominion, powers and
principalities acquired by force must be sustained by force.  To fail
will be fatal.  Even a duped people, trained in servility, will not
consent to be governed by an unsuccessful autocracy.  Arrogantly Germany
has staked her all on world domination.  Hence a victory for the Allies
must mean a democratic Germany.

Nothing short of victory.  There can be no arrangement, no agreement,
no parley with or confidence in these modern scions of darkness
--Hohenzollerns, Hindenburgs, Zudendorffs and their tools.  Propaganda must
not cease; the eyes of Germans still capable of sight must be opened.
But, as the President says, force must be used to the limit--force for a
social end as opposed to force for an evil end.  There are those among us
who advocate a boycott of Germany after peace is declared.  These would
seem to take it for granted that we shall fall short of victory, and
hence that selfish retaliative or vindictive practices between nations,
sanctioned by imperialism, will continue to flourish after the war.  But
should Germany win she will see to it that there is no boycott against
her.  A compromised peace would indeed mean the perpetuation of both
imperialism and militarism.

It is characteristic of those who put their faith in might alone that
they are not only blind to the finer relationships between individuals
and nations, but take no account of the moral forces in human affairs
which in the long run are decisive,--a lack of sensitiveness which
explains Germany's colossal blunders.  The first had to do with Britain.
The German militarists persisted in the belief that the United Kingdom
was degenerated by democracy, intent upon the acquisition of wealth,
distracted by strife at home, uncertain of the Empire, and thus would
selfishly remain aloof while the Kaiser's armies overran and enslaved the
continent.  What happened, to Germany's detriment, was the instant
socialization of Britain, and the binding together of the British Empire.
Germany's second great blunder was an arrogant underestimation of a
self-reliant people of English culture and traditions.  She believed that
we, too, had been made flabby by democracy, were wholly intent upon the
pursuit of the dollar--only to learn that America would lavish her vast
resources and shed her blood for a cause which was American.  Germany
herself provided that cause, shaped the issues so that there was no
avoiding them.  She provided the occasion for the socializing of America
also; and thus brought about, within a year, a national transformation
which in times of peace might scarce in half a century have been

Above all, as a consequence of these two blunders, Germany has been
compelled to witness the consummation of that which of all things she had
most to fear, the cementing of a lasting fellowship between the English
speaking Republic and the English speaking Empire.  For we had been
severed since the 18th Century by misunderstandings which of late Germany
herself had been more or less successful in fostering.  She has furnished
a bond not only between our governments, but--what is vastly more
important for democracy--a bond between our peoples.  Our soldiers are
now side by side with those of the Empire on the Frontier of Freedom; the
blood of all is shed and mingled for a great cause embodied in the
Anglo-Saxon tradition of democracy; and our peoples, through the
realization of common ideas and common ends, are learning the supreme
lesson of co-operation between nations with a common past, are being
cemented into a union which is the symbol and forerunner of the
democratic league of Nations to come.  Henceforth, we believe, because of
this union, so natural yet so long delayed, by virtue of the ultimate
victory it forecasts, the sun will never set on the Empire of the free,
for the drum beats of democracy have been heard around the world.  To
this Empire will be added the precious culture of France, which the
courage of her sons will have preserved, the contributions of Italy,
and of Russia, yes, and of Japan.

Our philosophy and our religion are changing; hence it is more and more
difficult to use the old terms to describe moral conduct.  We say, for
instance, that America's action in entering the war has been "unselfish."
But this merely means that we have our own convictions concerning the
ultimate comfort of the world, the manner of self-realization of
individuals and nations.  We are attempting to turn calamity into good.
If this terrible conflict shall result in the inauguration of an
emulative society, if it shall bring us to the recognition that
intelligence and science may be used for the upbuilding of such an order,
and for an eventual achievement of world peace, every sacrifice shall
have been justified.

Such is the American Issue.  Our statesmen and thinkers have helped to
evolve it, our people with their blood and treasure are consecrating it.
And these statesmen and thinkers, of whom our American President is not
the least, are of democracy the pioneers.  From the mountain tops on
which they stand they behold the features of the new world, the dawn of
the new day hidden as yet from their brothers in the valley.  Let us have
faith always that it is coming, and struggle on, highly resolving that
those who gave their lives in the hour of darkness shall not have died in

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